Baby elephants are being abducted from Zimbabwe’s National Park, smuggled to Chinese zoos

Tanzania elephants
CC BY-ND 2.0 Flickr

Most will probably die on the boat ride...

Poachers are a huge problem, as we've covered extensively, but the smuggling of live animals has also reached a crisis point, in part because some countries seem to care very little about the provenance of wildlife, and others don't have the means or the will to enforce wildlife protection laws. A sad, sad example of this comes from Zimbabwe.

The Hwange National Park is supposed to be a protected area for wildlife, but you know what they say about the difference between theory and practice... The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a non-profit wildlife conservation group, has issued a quite disturbing report claiming that animals in the National Park are being abducted to be shipped to Chinese zoos (which have been known to put some of their animals on the menu and to let rare Siberian tigers starve to death when the money got tight...).

Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Now eye-witness reports from tourists visiting the park are coming in about blatant live captures of baby elephants. The elephants are then taken to Mtshibi Capture Unit about 7 kilometres from Hwange’s Main Camp.

So far 34 baby elephants between the ages of 2 ½ and 5 years old, 7 lions and about 10 sable antelope have been rounded up for shipping but investigators were not allowed to get close enough to the compound to photograph as security there has become extremely tight. It is expected that the animals will be shipped by container trucks to Maputo in Mozambique where they will be transferred to a livestock freighter and sent on an arduous sea passage to China.

The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says that the baby elephants “quite likely won’t survive the trip.” And even if they do, Chinese zoos aren't exactly known for treating animals very well (I'll leave the details to the imagination, because the reports about it are just too sad).

Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Via Wildlife News

Tags: Africa | Animals | Animal Welfare | Conservation | Endangered Species


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